Friday, May 11, 2007

Little Known Fact (Or, what I hide from the world)

One thing that I don't generally tell people is that I take baking lessons. I don't hide this for any particular just seems sort of dull. Baking lessons? Who on earth does that, right? But I have a fab little bakery near where I live. Its owners are an older couple, Italian, and they know all kinds of mouth-watering recipes. I'm fortunate in that I've made friends over the years with them and a few years ago I expressed an interest in learning to bake--something that didn't begin in a box. So I began going there one afternoon a week, usually Thursday or Friday, and baking.

Want to know some of what I've learned? Today we made cream puffs, among other things. Here's the recipe. It's really not hard at all.

Cream Puffs


1 cup water
1/2 cup salted butter
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 pint heavy cream
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Bring water to a boil. Add butter and return to a boil. Combine flour and salt and add to boiling water. Stir briskly until mixture forms a ball.

Remove from heat and add eggs, one at a time, stirring briskly after each until mixture is smooth.

Drop by heaping tablespoons onto a cookie sheet, keeping "blobs" 4 inches apart.

Bake 15 minutes before reducing heat to 325 degrees F. Bake for an additional 25 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool completely on wire rack.

Whip cream with electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Stir in vanilla and sugar.

Fill puffs with whipped cream.

Drizzle with melted chocolate, if desired, or garnish with chopped nuts. Pistachios look festive and taste great, too!